By Kari Patrick
In Ash Princess, by Laura Sebastian, royally born Theodosia is relegated to a place of shame in court by the man who usurped the throne, destroyed her life, and murdered her mother, the queen. In the ten years since that day, Theo has been held captive by the Kaiser in the same palace where she was born and raised. At formal events, she wears a crown of ash that disintegrates and dirties her, thus reminding everyone of her role at court.
The years of psychological torment she has suffered have been made harder by the fact that she has had to hide her true self. Forced to remain meek and powerless, so as to not appear threatening to the Kaiser in any respect, Theo is now nearing her breaking point. When a series of events unfolds and leaves Theo guilty of a terrible crime, her only option for survival becomes immediate escape. She is intelligent and adept at thinking quickly on her feet, but she also knows she can never underestimate the strength of her enemy.
For more intriguing plots with strong female lead characters, check out Warrior of the Wild, by Tricia Levenseller; Sky in the Deep, by Adrienne Young; and Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi.